UCSF

Calls about the abuse of cold medicines increase tenfold in California

Calls to the California Poison Control System (CPCS) about abuse, primarily in adolescents, of over-the-counter medications containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan, increased tenfold from 1999 to 2004, according to a retrospective review published in the December 2006 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. This calling trend in California to the CPCS was paralleled nationally during this same time period, the report shows.

In California, calls to the CPCS during this 6-year interval, showed that Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold Tablets was the most commonly reported dextromethorphan-containing medication abused, followed by Robitussin products. The CPCS is the statewide provider of immediate, 24-hour, free, and expert treatment telephone advice and assistance in case of exposure to poisonous, hazardous, or toxic substances. The system is administered in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, UCSF School of Pharmacy.

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Dextromethorphan Abuse in Adolescents

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About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.